JERUSALEM, MARCH 2 -- Israeli Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin today rejected proposals by right-wing politicians that the West Bank and Gaza Strip, where the Palestinian "uprising" is now in its 12th week, be closed to the media.
Rabin told the Israeli parliament during a debate that it would be neither practical nor legally possible to prevent journalists and TV crews from entering the occupied territories. The media ban was proposed by Geula Cohen, of the right-wing opposition Tehiya party.
Tension between the Army and the media has been increasing since the disturbances began in early December, and there have been several cases of journalists, especially cameramen, being threatened, abused or hit by soldiers.
Tensions have been running particularly high since last week, when a CBS television crew filmed four soldiers beating two Palestinians in the West Bank city of Nablus.
Rabin has already rejected a request by the Foreign Press Association that Israeli security forces refrain from using film shot by foreign TV crews to identify Palestinian rioters and agitators.
The Army is refusing to return to Cable News Network a video tape of the lynching of a suspected collaborator in the West Bank village of Qabatiya 10 days ago. CNN bureau chief Robert Wiener has complained that the film was used to identify and arrest Palestinians said to be involved in the lynching.